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Solved: 8 Port TV cable splitter and amp

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself (Not Computer-Related)' started by Barnell, Jan 15, 2011.

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  1. Barnell

    Barnell Thread Starter

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    The cable connection for my TV is currently come into a 4 port splitter located in the laundry room. One port goes to a 2 way splitter located in my living room for my TV and internet. A 2nt port goes to another 4 way splitter also located in the laundry room (right next to the first splitter) for the bedrooms in my house. I was thinking about replacing the 2 splitters located in the laundry room with a Channel Master 8 way distribution amplifier. Now I had been doing some research online and found some amplifiers can affect other home internet.

    Has any one used a channel master amplifier at home and what the results did you have? Any suggestion on what I should do before installing it? Is there a better model amp I could use?

    Also does changing the current cable connection improve quality or do you need to replace the cable? For example if I wanted to use a gold connector.

    More information on setup:
    Using high speed internet
    Using Moxi cable box with DVR/HDTV
    A Sony surround sound system
    Running the cable through surge protector
    See link for more on amp: http://www.channelmasterstore.com/Antenna_Cable_TV_Amplifier_p/cm-3418.htm
     
  2. Koot

    Koot

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    What is your real reason for wanting to add an amplifier? Do you have some television channels that are poor quality, which you think the signal strength is not high enough?

    Your cable service provider is responsible for making sure your signal strength [gain] is adequate to receive all television channels clearly. Too much signal strength [gain] can harm the picture quality as much as too little. They use a spectrum analyzer to determine whether signal gain (i.e. amplification) or attenuation is necessary for best quality. This was done at installation. You do not want to mess up this fine-tuning by adding an amplifier when it is not necessary.

    If you are of the opinion that an amplifier will increase your Internet speed, that's not true. In fact, when an amplifier is necessary the Internet feed is almost always split-off upstream (ahead of) of the amplifier.

    Why do you believe you need an amplifier?
     
  3. K7M

    K7M

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    If you have poor TV in the rooms that are tied to the second splitter I would just replace the two splitters with one. You loose somewhere around 6db per splitter.
     
  4. Frank4d

    Frank4d Retired Trusted Advisor

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    The internet connection doesn't work well with amplifiers, so consider keeping the incoming two way splitter for internet and TVs. Connect the channel master amplifier, and run your TVs off of it, but keep your internet connection on the splitter before the channel master amplifier.
     
  5. Barnell

    Barnell Thread Starter

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    I had trouble with my cable connection when I first move here and had to move the main TV cable to a different in order for it to work. The cable TV works a lot better now but sometimes get a little glitch on HD channels. I really just want to clean up the mess of wires and splitter so I have been looking for a 6 or 8 way splitter. The only ones I can find are also amps those. Plus I also read that in order to use a 8 way splitter you are going to need an amp because of the single drop. And I will encounter the same problem if I get a cable box for a different room.

    No I’m not trying to speed up my internet its all ready fast.

    Not sure how I can put the modem in before the amp unless I move it all down to the laundry room.
     
  6. Koot

    Koot

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  7. Frank4d

    Frank4d Retired Trusted Advisor

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    The specs for the amplifier says it has a return path to work with cable modems, so maybe it will work. You could check with your intermet provider.

    As for improving the wiring, gold connectors won't improve anything. RG-6 cable will be an improvement over RG-59. Of course if replacing cable is an option, you could run two cables from the laundry room to the livingroom.
     
  8. Barnell

    Barnell Thread Starter

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    Thanks for all the help. I talk to my internet provider and they had no idea; I really hate this new provider they been a real pain.

    It would be way to much work to pull new cables I was just hoping new connectors would be an easy way to improve my network.

    I might use a two way splitter before the amp and put the modem on the other port. Just have to move the router and modem to my office.
     
  9. Koot

    Koot

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    You say you talked with your provider, but you didn't say what you talked to them about. Did you tell them you were not satisfied with the quality of some of your HD channels? Or did you attempt to ask them about amplifiers and splitters? You may hate your provider, but I can assure you they will come out and make sure the quality of your channels are the absolute best. They have the ability to decrease or increase the signal gain while monitoring a spectrum analyzer for perfect reception. You do not need to do anyhing yourself, or spend anything.

    I still do not know why you are so emphatic about buying and installing an amplifier. What makes you think the problem with some of your HD channels isn't too much signal strength? And here you are (without any test equipment or know-how) willing to spend money on an amplifier, which could (50% - 50%) make the quality of your television channel worse.

    Why don't you open up your television and start adjusting some variable resistors and capacitors? Maybe unplug some wires and plug them into something else?
     
  10. Barnell

    Barnell Thread Starter

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    The provider has been to my house 3 times all ready. The last time we place the cable TV and Internet off the first splitter once the line enters my house. They did this because the loss over the two splitters was too great for the cable and internet. I talk to them about adding a amplifier and if it would effect other people cable and internet.

    The first problem was signal loss from a 2-way splitter (-3.5dB) to a 4-way splitter (-7dB) to the final 2-way splitter (-3.5dB). I had a total loss of -14dB. By moving the internet and cable to a port before the 4-way splitter the loss was split in ½ to only -7dB (Two 2 way splitters). The TV and internet work correctly with no issues with a loss of -7dB. So the problem has to be a loss of signal or the original way would have work better (-14dB).

    An average 8-way splitter has a loss of -11dB. So an 8-way plus a 2-way would have a loss of -14.5dB and I have the same problem as before. The amp adds 3dB to each port so the TV and internet will have will have a loss of -.5dB after the 2-way splitter. Or I could keep the 2-way splitter in before the amp negating the affects on the system from the amp.

    Well I guess what I should be asking is what effect is one or two dB? Could -14dB be too much loss and -7dB be not enough loss so now my signal is too strong? Do the cable companies use the same gain and loss for all houses or are the signal adjusted for ever house’s service and use? Maybe that is what I should be asking my provider.


    I’m having an enough trouble with just adding splitters I don’t think I should be messing around inside my TV. Plus the TV still under warranty and I would want to mess that up.

    I didn't include cable loss because they were a constant.
     
  11. Koot

    Koot

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    Barnell,

    I was just kidding about messing around inside your television. That was me being sarcastic, which admittedly was not very nice.

    With coaxial type cable service the signal strength decreases from the source, which may be many miles away from you. Keep in mind that the coaxial type cable that your service provider uses from the source point (heliax, coax, etc.) has a dB loss itself, therefore they must amplify the signal at various points between the source and each customer in order to keep the signal to a certain range/value. From the connection point nearest your house (underground fed pedestal, overhead) your provider will use coax for the short run into your house...and from where they "hit" your house more coax is run to feed various locations where you want feeds for your TVs and Internet. Again, all along these many miles of distance there are losses, but these losses are overcome by the provider using of special amplifiers designed to amplify various frequency segments, thus re-gaining (by amplifying the signal) the signal strength. That said, if there is too much signal strength at a particular location the provider must install attenuation to decrease the signal...or if they find that there is not enough signal strength they may need to remove an attenuation device that had been installed near your location (in the pedestal or overhead)...or they may need to add an amplifier on their side of the service feed, or inside your home. All these scenarios happen all the time to fine-tune the signal, whether it's just your house or the service itself. What I am trying to get across is this - you do not have the knowledge nor the equipment to determine what is needed. Too much signal strength, or too little on one frequency segment? More than one? Is there fixed attenuation installed at the pedestal or overhead? Is there an amplifier installed near your location that may need adjusting? You personally do not know the answers to these questions...and have no way of finding out.

    Why don't you run a simple test to determine if taking the existing splitters out of the line will correct your channel quality. Buy a barrel (splice) connector, which has virtually no dB loss, and feed your TV without going thru any splitters. Hook up the TV (using the barrell connector) directly to the incoming service. See if it makes any difference... At least then you will know what removing x amount [~3.5, 7, 14 dB] of dB loss will do...are won't do for you.

    My suggestion is to keep going higher up the ladder in complaining about your TV picture quality on various channels. Keep going higher and higher until you get customer satisfaction. You are the customer!
     
  12. antimoth

    antimoth

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    Let's get away from the EE talk, or at least make it understandable (I was an EE). A two way splitter sends 1/2 the power to each leg. A four way splitter sends 1/4 the power. In math terms, 3DB means a 50% power loss. 6DB is like 2 3DB losses in a row, or 25%. That means 12DB is 6.125% of the original signal, and your 14 DB is down in the mud. By the way, the splitter is rated 3.5 db because nothing is perfect, and the extra .5 db accounts for parasitic losses.

    While it's reasonable to expect a good signal from your cable company, you can't expect things to work well if you are using cable from the 80's and three splitters in front of the set top box. In my case, my cable modem and analog TV's worked well with 2-3 splitters in front, but the digital set top box was marginal with two. Last month, I redid things and ran RG6 cable directly to my new HD cable box with only one splitter. It works so much better now.

    So minimize the amount of transformers in front of your most critical piece of gear. I've not tried an amplifier myself.
     
  13. ehymel

    ehymel

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    Interesting that none of the posts so far have mentioned the importance of having adequate bandwidth in the splitter. In addition to the number of important factors already mentioned, you should make sure that each of your splitters has a bandwidth of 1000MHz (1 GHz) or more. Several years ago I used an older splitter with lower bandwidth and had problems with digital cable. I realized the problem, replaced with a new splitter with 1 GHz bandwidth and all was solved.

    I use an amplifier in my home. Where the main cable line comes into my home, I have an 8-port amplifier. One of the lines off of this goes straight to my cable modem for internet connection. This line does not get split to maintain the full integrity of the signal, and the signal is very clean with high signal-to-noise ratio.
     
  14. Barnell

    Barnell Thread Starter

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    Is the amplifier before or after the line that goes to the internet?
     
  15. ehymel

    ehymel

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    Amplifier is before line to cable modem.
     
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